How much of your life have you spent (wasted?) trying to be normal? I constructed my life around the mythical land of Normal, but someone has different plans for me. Last year we were told our son wasn't 'normal', so now we're packing up old prejudices, our preconceived notions and unrealistic expectations, and we're moving out of Normal to a different... possibly better neighbourhood.

You too will find yourself, no matter who you are, joining me in this place where the only true measure of normal is which kind of weird you are. This blog will explore a journey most of us will take at some point: letting go of preconceptions about ‘normal’, peeling our fingers off the image we had of what our lives ‘should’ look like, and having the courage to re-imagine the piece of time we are given in this world.

You are now leaving Normal.

"A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there!"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nanny Jo and the Underwear Solution

Today you can find me at HLW3B where I take on Nanny Jo, and try to show her the light with Simon's own Underwear Solution. Let me know what you think, and what your bedtime issues are, with a comment there or here!


  1. Hi Caitlin,

    I enjoyed your post over there, but wasn't able to post my comment because I don't have a Google account. So here it is:

    Good for Simon for finding his own solution! His ability to problem-solve shows how well you have parented him, and what a smart guy he is. :)

    The nanny show has extreme examples of families out of control and unbalanced, where the kids have learned behaviours that are clearly problematic to themselves in the long run, and to others in the house. The parents on that show generally have little to no insight how they have arrived at the point of seemingly irreversible chaos, and are asking, pleading for help. That's all "good TV" for you and me, but certainly not the typical home, IMO.

    The Nanny doesn't have all the answers to every conceivable scenario - she is managing crises - she does offer tips to put the brakes on some very dysfunctional habits, and restores sanity to chaos. She can seem harsh at times, and not everyone using behavioral techniques uses her type of approach.

    Having said that, research into reducing problematic behaviors, especially ones that have been reinforced off and on and unpredictably so, is a very tough thing to do. Research shows that the behavior will get stronger for awhile, then be gone, and then re-emerge for a bit and then finally the behavior will stop. So, it is predictably a very hard thing to change ingrained patterns. It's good to see the road ahead on what is and isn't 'ringing your child bell's' so to speak. What's really enticing and exciting for one child can barely register for another. A good plan is unique to each child and family.

    Behaviorists are not unaware of needs that children have, including Mom's love. To believe otherwise is to buy in to simplistic stereotypes. Understanding the behavioral principles that are at play over time can only contribute positively to one's ability to parent, for the short and long term.

    Marni W.

  2. Thanks Marni. Just to clarify, my post is not about behaviourists. It's about the need for moms to trust themselves where sleep routines are concerned, and not cave to stereotypes that would indicate a loving response to bedtimes makes a spoiled, poor sleeper.

    I think many parents inherently understand behaviour priniciples, or have done oodles of research on them, but they also need permission to go the spidey sense route - even if it contradicts what the behaviourists say - when they know it's the right thing for their child in that moment.

  3. My boy has been an amazing sleeper since day one - literally. We COULD NOT BELIEVE a newborn had slept completely through his first night 'out of the oven' as it were - a full 8 hours. That continued as his pattern. He still loves to sleep at 6 and-a-half.

    Occasionally, he is hyper-happy and stays up late or gets up in the middle of the night to have a "rave" as we refer to it, and there is not a lot we can do. We just let it happen. He does what he does, we check on him, make sure he has a drink or whatever he might need, and generally he's happy as a clam. He puts himself to bed when he's ready. He has no fear/anxiety related to the dark, his bed, bedtime etc. It's really very different than anything I'd ever seen or heard of in kid at night. Odd, isn't it?

    We find that just like with ourselves, after a day or two of early rising, he's looking for the bed at a reasonable bedtime. We go with the reality that one cannot 'will' oneself to sleep in adherence to a clock. You make routines and set the stage, and then let nature run its course. I get tired, then I go to sleep, and all's well - same for the kids.

    Marni W.

  4. Caitlin,
    beautiful, as always. All the pop-psychology in the world cannot compare with what a mom knows of her own child. And kudos to Simon for reaching the remarkable stage of knowing for himself what he needs.
    Sweet dreams!

  5. I think the reason we act so heavily from a behaviouralist perspective is because that's how we were (pretty much) all raised! Not because it's necessarily in our children's (our our) best interests.

    Anyway, one of my favourite posts yet, Caitlin - great content and writing!


  6. I love that Marni - a "rave"!!

    Thanks Natalie and Ruth :) Simon still struggles more often than not with noticing the more subtle sensory signals his body is sending to him - but this was a sign that he is maturing in that area. I hope to see lots more progress on this front in the future - but I know it needs to be on his own time, in his own way.

  7. Sorry for the late reply---A job well done for you and yours. I'm so happy he was able to figure it out himself---that's such a huge step! We had sleep issues after our house flooding event/evacuation and the kids slept with us for months took almost a year to get my son to sleep in his own bed again and I would not have changed a thing. People thought we were crazy to take so long to get him back to his bed but he was so anxious we did what was best for him, when he was ready. He's doing just fine now and I listen (occasionally ;) ) to what others say but follow my gut with the kids.

  8. i can't imagine you haven't received this before, but i just awarded you the Stylish Blog Award over at Angie's Minivan Moments. i so enjoy stopping in from time to time and losing myself in your blog!!!

  9. Thanks Lizbeth, and you're right that we should definitely not close our ears to outside advice. Just temper it with our own wisdom.

    Angie - thank you so much! I'm heading over to check it out :)

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